While the often noticed aping by Bertolucci of his hero Godard in this early film is quite true (even the film itself admits its debt to Godard
right on screen), there is more here than mere imitation. Whether intentional or not I saw plenty of other influences from Bunuel, to the
paintings if Rene Magritte. A loose, examination of schizophrenia; an inhibited intellectual young man spawns a separate self who is
confident, aggressive and revolutionary.
While vaguely based on Dostoyevsky’s “The Double”, this is very much it’s own story, and a hell of a lot of fun. I found Bertolucci’s surreal
playfulness more inviting than most of Godard’s work from that period. It asks many of the same questions, and has much of the same
distain for modern consumer society, (and film narrative conventions) but does it with an absurdist sense of humor that give rise to some
moments that now seem as much “Monty Python” as they are French New Wave.
The most egregious Godard rip-offs can be annoying (sudden inappropriate music, etc), but they are for the most part mercifully brief.
Mostly this is more influence and homage than theft, and creates a time capsule that still has relevance and interest, and pleasure in the
watching. Pierre Clementi does a fine job playing the two different versions of the hero Giaccobe.
The "No Shame" transfer is quite nice, and contains a number of interesting extras, including an entire 2nd feature film by critic